Bulldogs Overcome Slow Start To Rout Broncos 82-60
'''We have to outrebound them. They're playing harder than us. We have to match their intensity and just play our game,''' Dower recalled Few saying.
Dower scored 17 points and No. 25 Gonzaga broke away in the second half for an 82-60 victory over Clara on Saturday night, the Bulldogs' eighth-straight win.
''We were rushing our shots. In the second half we started shooting our shots,'' Dower said.
Freshman Gary Bell Jr. added 15 points for the Bulldogs (13-2,3-0 West Coast Conference), who broke the game open early in the second half with an 18-0 run. The Zags haven't allowed more than 65 during their streak.
Santa Clara (8-7, 0-2) fell to 0-5 on the road with its third straight loss. Raymond Cowels III led the Broncos with 13 points and Brandon Clark had 12.
Bell also did most of the defensive work that limited junior guard Kevin Foster, who torched them for 36 and 29 points in two games last season, to nine points, half his average.
Foster, who is third in the nation in 3-pointers at 3.8 a game and led the nation last season, was 2 of 9 from the field and 0 of 4 from 3-point range. He had nine 3-pointers in Spokane last season.
''When you play good defense on somebody and they keep hitting hard shots, you just have to keep playing. Today he just missed them,'' Bell said. ''The big guys extended on the screens and he couldn't get wide-open looks. It helped me get back to contest his shots. He has a quick release.''
Few said: ''Gary has built a lot of trust in the staff and his teammates. ... He always has energy on defense. ... He's the same way in practice.''
Three free throws by Foster a minute into the second half gave Santa Clara its last lead at 31-30 but Gonzaga reeled off 18 straight points, including back-to-back 3-pointets by Kevin Pangos, who finished with 10 points and five assists, consecutive layups by Bell and six points by Elias Harris, who finished with 12.
The Broncos, scoreless for 5:55, missed eight straight shots while the Bulldogs were making six of seven.
That stretched into a 26-4 run, capped by a fast-break layup by David Stockton, for a 21-point lead at 56-35 at the 10:04 mark.
''They were switching out on everything,'' Bell said. ''We just had to adjust. We did that in the second half. Luckily it wasn't too late.''
Santa Clara scored the first 10 points of the game, the first eight by Cowels, who had consecutive 3-pointers, before Bell made a layup for Gonzaga almost 5 minutes in.
The Broncos, behind Cowels' 10 points, led the entire first half until Dower's 3-pointer with 37 seconds left gave the Bulldogs a 28-26 lead at the break. Dower had 11 at the half, which closed with Santa Clara in a scoring drought of 4:25.
''We spotted them 10 points and then for the most part I thought we played really, really good defense all night,'' Few said. ''It took a while for us to get a rhythm offensively. They kind of were switching defenses and jump up quite a bit. Once our guys started playing, then they were fine.''
Neither team shot well in the first half, the Broncos connecting 36 percent, although they hit four of 10 3s, and Gonzaga 39 percent, going just 2 of 9 from behind the arc. But Gonzaga turned that around in the second half, shooting 69 percent while SCU finished the game at 38 percent.